Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D save lock spurs used game controversy

Note: Saved data on this software cannot be reset.

This tiny blurb featured as a footnote in the instruction manual for Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D has sparked outrage from gamers. Because game progress is permanently saved to the cartridge, there is no way for a player who receives the game second-hand to start a new game from the beginning. This decision restricts gamers from lending the cartridge to friends and will potentially affect the market for buying/selling the game used.

When the news reached GameStop, the company initially blocked the ability to trade in the game. "GameStop did ask the U.S. store base to stop accepting trades on Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D as we evaluated the save system for the game," a company rep told us.

We inquired to Capcom about the reasoning behind this decision. Was it an intentional effort on the company's part to hinder used game sales? A company representative told us:

In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, all mission progress is saved directly to the Nintendo 3DS cartridge, where it cannot be reset. The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability in order to improve mission scores. In addition, this feature does not remove any content available for users. Secondhand game sales were not a factor in this development decision, so we hope that all our consumers will be able to enjoy the entirety of the survival-action experiences that the game does offer.

focalbox The Mercenaries 3D is primarily a multiplayer game, meaning the inability to start from scratch isn't as obnoxious as it would be in a story-driven game. Still, for many players, building a character, and unlocking items--whether it be missions, characters, costumes, or weapons--make up for a majority of the "fun" of a game.

However, it's likely that the multiplayer focus of the title is what caused GameStop to rescind its initial blocking of the title. "Upon further review of the process with our publisher partner, Capcom, GameStop will resume taking trades on the game effective Wednesday, June 29."

Still, gamer outrage continues that Capcom would place such an arbitrary restriction on the game. Hopefully, the incited response of the community will ensure the company does not repeat the same mistake again in the future. Unfortunately, Capcom did not respond to our inquiries on whether this will be standard practice on their future cartridge-based games on the 3DS platform.